In poker, players can cheat in a number of ways. One of the most common poker scams is collusion, which means that players work as a team against their opponents.
We have earlier investigated casino-game cheating and looked at past posting, blackjack card counting and a little roulette scam in which a mobile phone played the main character. Now we’ve come to poker – a game that for centuries been a heaven for cheating players.
Poker Collusion – How It’s Done
Collusion is a form of cheating that could take place both online and offline. This is how it works: Two or more players agree before the game that they’re going to try to extract money from the other opponents by playing as a team.
The colluding players can make their opponents commit more money to the pot when only one of them has a strong hand. Say that colluding player #1 sits under the gun in a $50/$100 Fixed-Limit Hold’em game. He has a weak hand but colluding player #2 in cut-off seat secretly signals that he’s strong.
Player #1 can now open the betting, either by just limping hoping that other players will limp and player #2 can raise it up and player #1 can raise it again when the action gets back to him; or raise with his weak hand pre flop hoping that other players will call. Player #2 can then raise and player #1 finally caps the betting.
The player with the weak hand can act very strong although he has a bad hand simply because he’s colluding partner covers his back when he gets into the action.
Poker Collusion Online
Collusion is possible online. Actually, it could be the perfect forum for such a scam. In a live game, the cheating players must deploy a quite sophisticated signal system and hide the fact that they know each other. On the Net, players can communicate via MSN, which no opponent will know about.
When colluding online, players can also help each other by telling what hands they hold. Say that you have a king-high flush draw and your opponent has the ace of the same suit, then you know you’re drawing to the nuts. If you have a pair of 3s, and your opponent also has a 3, you might not want to se the flop to catch a set.
Online Collusion Is a Risky Business
The online-poker sites are obviously aware of this problem. They have personnel and software that detect strange plays, at least that’s what they claim; and if someone is caught colluding, his account will be locked instantly.
If two players always sit at the same table, the poker site will suspect that something strange is going on and the players will be placed under the security team’s magnifying glass. So even if players can get away with this cheat for quite some time, chances are that they eventually will be caught with their hands in the cookie jar. And then it’s all over.